Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: Microsoft Phone Issues

A week after Apple settled its patent dispute with HTC it looks like another of its long-running patent battles may be coming closer to a solution. Bloomberg has reported that Apple is now interested in settling its disputes with Google’s Motorola Mobility unit via arbitration.

The effort could lead to the elimination of all of their legal wrangling that is now taking place in courts around the globe. The two have been exchanging proposals for using binding arbitration to settle the problems, it was reported.

Samsung seeks Apple/HTC info
Not all good things have sprung from last week’s patent deal between Apple and HTC. Samsung, still involved in some bitter patent disputes globally with Apple is now seeking to have the courts provide it with the details of the Apple/HTC deal.

Samsung is arguing that the deal shows that Apple is quite willing to forgo the exclusivity that its designs provide if it receives cash in exchange, according to a piece in Computerworld. In related news about the ongoing Apple/Samsung lawsuits the U.S. District judge who presided over Apple’s huge victory over Samsung is expected to rule in December on Apple’s request for a permanent ban on select Samsung products.

Amazon’s 8.9-inch Kindle HD ships early, New Nexus 7 also available
Amazon is set to please the advance buyers of its Kindle HD by shipping the tablet five days earlier than expected. However the joy could be short lived as it looks as if demand has outstripped supplies and the next batch of the tablets will not ship until early December.

The Nexus Seven with 3G also now available and Google is telling customers that it will be three to five business days to receive the tablet.

Windows phone from Microsoft on the way?
The rumor drumbeat continues to grow that Microsoft has another hardware product in the works and that it will be a smartphone for Windows 8. Not sure if it is just one rumor that continually gets picked up and forwarded or if there are a number of independent sources reporting this but it does make sense. It is already competing with its hardware OEMs in the tablet space, why not in the smartphone space as well?

However all is not good with Windows 8 OS
Slash Gear is reporting that users of Windows 8 Phone are reporting a variety of battery and other issues with phones running the operating system. Among the issues are the phones just randomly rebooting while being used. Also poor battery life has been reported on a forum called WPCentral.

Friday Grab Bag: YourSport-The Facebook for Sports? Kindle 4G Gets OK

YourSports: The Facebook for sports?
A new online sports publication is coming into being called YourSports and it is a customizable sports page that is designed to enable fans to get the sports news that they want, including local sports that might be missed by the larger rivals.

While currently in beta it is open to all for the first time to take a look, it claims that it will fill in sports that is not currently handled by its rivals such as ESPN, BleacherReport and others by using social media to help fill in what is not available on broadcast sports while also providing news feeds on your favorite teams.

Amazon gets FCC approval for 4G Kindle

While Amazon announced its 4G Kindle Fire HD tablet last week it was only this month that the company obtained permission from the US Federal Communications Commission to actual sell the high end Kindle Fire HD that has the ability to connect to high speed 4G cellular networks.

The FCC approval is required for any device that has wireless communications to ensure that it does not create interference with other wireless devices. The product has been on preorder and is expected to ship Nov. 20.

Microsoft accuses Motorola of map stealing
As if Apple’s map problems are not enough now Microsoft is claiming that the Android phones from Motorola that use Google Maps, infringe on a mapping patent that Microsoft owns. The patent in question covers a method of obtaining the map from one database, resource information such as Starbucks locations from a second database, and overlaying the two sets of data.

The lawsuit is just one of several that Microsoft has filed in Germany regarding patent issues with the Google-owned Motorola Mobility as Microsoft increases the pressure to get Android phone makers to pay it royalties, according to Computerworld.

The Hank Aaron Award

Time to vote for the Hank Aaron award
While League MVP, Cy Young and other awards seem to always dominate the off season, the Hank Aaron award, for each league’s best all around offensive player, is one award that fans can have an impact in by voting.

The fans, along with an all-star panel that includes Aaron, ony Gwynn, Paul Molitor, Joe Morgan, and Robin Yount will vote on which of a slate of players is the best in each league. Voting closes Oct 16.

Lenovo now top PC maker
Market research firm Gartner has found that Hewlett-Packard has been unseated as top PC seller worldwide by Lenovo. HP, the top gun in this space for the past six years owned a 15.5% share of the market while Lenovo grew to 15.7% of the market.

This comes at a time when overall PC sales are declining. Gartner reported that in the third quarter of this year sales fell 8%, but it looks like some of that decline is simply buyers waiting for the Windows 8 release later this month. Dell, Acer and Asus make up the top 5 PC makers.

HTC departs US tablet market
While there is a growing rumble about a host of new tablets expected to be announced in conjunction with the Windows 8 rollout by Microsoft later this month, HTC is jumping off the bandwagon just as others are jumping onto it.

The company has announced that it is dropping its HTC Flyer and other tablet products from the US market. It said that the products were at the end of their lifecycle and the company has said it will watch the tablet space but does not want to have an offering that is a “me too” offering.

RoboCup Soccer gets champion robot
Don’t know what RoboCup Soccer is? Well join the club but an interesting piece in Gizmag talks about the state of modern robotics and how a league of five teams competed in the league that uses what it calls TeenSize robots, ones that are three to four feet tall.

They use an open source platform and cost roughly $26,000 apiece. The leagues goal is to develop a team that can beat the human champions, by 2050 that is.

Google Enters Facial Recognition Space with Viewdle Buy


Google’s Motorola Mobility unit has purchased Silicon Valley-based developer Viewdle, a company that creates face detection software for an estimated price of between $35 and $40 million. Gesture and facial recognition appears to be the next technology that smartphones and other device manufacturers will be using as they seek to differentiate themselves as rivals have also been moving down this path.

Viewdle is a cross platform developer that creates applications and software development kits that enable facial and gesture recognition that are optimized for the low power environment of mobile devices. At last year’s CTIA conference the company won the Social Networking/Content/Entertainment category of CTIA’s annual Emerging Technology (E-Tech) Awards competition.

Viewdle was founded in 2007 and closed an estimated $2 million Series A round of funding backed by Anthem Venture Partners. Iit closed its Series B round of funding in October 2010 after raising $10 million. Investors included Best Buy, BlackBerry Partners Fund and Qualcomm as well as Series A investor Anthem Venture Partners

In the past few years others have been snapping up developers in this space. Apple reportedly has purchased a developer named Polar Rose, a developer that helps identify users in photos and enables storing images based on their content for an estimated $22 million.

Intel has long been showing that it is working in this area and last year showed that it could perform facial recognition with software running on its systems. If it is internally developed look for smartphones and tablets sing its processors to offer that capability at some time in the future. Earlier this year Facebook entered the fray when it purchased Face.Com for $100m and it was expected at that time that the facial tagging app would find its way into mobile products.

I imagine that it will be some time before we see a Motorola Razr phone that has this capability but it will be interesting to have. This could be a real boon for sports fans that take lots of pictures, say of college baseball players and then forget who they are. Now you phone or camera can tell you.

Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: No Kodak Patents, iPhone 5 Sales Soar

Kodak has indefinitely postponed the auction of its imaging patents with the move coming after the company has already postponed the auction more than once. In the works since August the company, currently in bankruptcy protection, has been seeking to sell approximately 1,000 imaging patents.

Now it looks like the company is looking at alternatives to auctioning the patents off and that includes keeping the patents in house.

Will existing patent law seriously harm Android?
An interesting piece at ZDNet brings up the point that under current patent law there is the possibility that the Android ecosystem could wither and die if Apple wins additional rounds versus Samsung on Apple’s patent claims.

Part of the issue is that the utility patents which govern the way things work are harder to develop work arounds than the look and feel issue, which simply requires a new design paradigm. Head over here to read the piece.

AMD targeting tablets with Hondo
Advanced Micro Devices is looking at entering the rapidly growing market for tablets with its Hondo microprocessor, a chip that was designed for the market. The chip will be initially only support Windows 8 when AMD launches it, but unlike the Clover Trail family of chips from Intel, AMD’s processor will also support Linux at the same time.

Apple wins a round in Germany vs. Motorola
In the ongoing patent wars between Apple and Motorola/Google, chalk one up for Apple. It has won a judgment against Motorola in Germany that calls for the banning of select Motorola products that use its ‘rubber band’ technology.

The court ruled that Motorola must recall all Android tablet and smartphones that infringe on a select Apple patent, one that was also part of Apple’s victory over Samsung in its case in the US. Apple will be required to post a bond to cover enforcement.

Speaking of Samsung the company took another loss in the U.S. court system as a judge has denied the company’s request for a ban on imports of Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iPod devices due to their supposed infringement on Samsung patents.

iPhone sales break records over weekend
According to AT&T the iPhone 5, which went on sale last Friday, broke all previous sales records for iPhones at the carrier. Records were set both on Friday and for the overall weekend. The company said that the preorders will start to be filled on Friday, Sept. 21.

Hewlett-Packard to eventually enter smartphone space
HP CEO Meg Whitman has said that the company will enter the smartphone space; it is just a matter of when the company will do so that is at issue now. During an interview on Fox Business Network.she said that the company is already working on the development of a smartphone.

Tablets and smartphones now top memory consumers
The PC has been dethroned, at least as the top consumer of DRAM memory chips. The chips, which are a key technology for all computing devices has seen their demand shift from the PC space, the long term top consumer of the technology since the 1980s, to the merging tablet and smartphone space.

According to a report from research companyiSuppli showed that in the second quarter of 2012 PC consumption dropped to 49%. However it is not just tablets and smartphones that comprise the remaining 51% as a host of other devices also use DRAM.

Friday Grab Bag: Replacement Refs Make the Cut, Apple/Motorola Bury the Ax, Sort of

ESPN pays out $5.6 billion for MLB broadcast rights
ESPN will remain the broadcaster of choice for Major League Baseball for Sunday, Monday and Wednesday night baseball as the broadcast giant has inked a new deal with the league for $5.6 bn according to the Sports Business Journal.

The eight year deal will work out to be approximately $700 million per annum, more than double the current deal. Other broadcast rights are still in the process of being bid and baseball may have many windfall years ahead. I wonder what this will do to the luxury tax in the league, although I am sure that it is already covered in the CBA.

Microsoft offers SkyDrive for Android
Although it sounds vaguely like the plot for Terminator 4, it is simply Microsoft offering its SkyDrive cloud storage service as an app for Android users and they can go over to the Google Play store and pick it up. While it can run on early versions of the Android operating system it is optimized for version 4.0.

Apple’s win a loss for standard-essential patents?
While I write a good deal about patent issues due to the seemingly constant state of litigation that is ongoing in the mobile and handheld space, I am far from an expert on the topic, and do not pretend to be so. An interesting look at some of the after affects from Apple’s win over Microsoft can be found at this piece from Reuters.

An interesting conclusion I gain from the piece is that the host of patents that Google gained in the Motorola purchase may not have quite the value that the company believed that it would have, and that could make the deal a lot less valuable than previously believed.

ESPN’s top college football markets
Ever wonder why a game is on and how well it did in terms of viewership? Well ESPN did not release all of its market data but it has provided a look at the top 25 markets, but from last year and going back 12 years.

There is a lot of interesting data in there, mined quite well to show you the shifting interest in teams , regions and leagues. The only two areas that stayed in the top 5 over the entire span were Birmingham and Columbus, Ohio.

Motorola and Apple bury the ax in Ge

Peace at last? That is probably too much to ask but at least one bone of contention between the two has been buried as Motorola Mobility and Apple have agreed on a FRAND licenses in Germany. An earlier attempt had failed when Motorola asked for 2.25% revenue rate.

Apple called the deal “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory” and will call for Apple to pay Motorola an unspecified sum for all previous use of Motorola technology, Foss Patents reports. It also said that the deal is probably a result of the ruling in the Apple/Samsung case.

Images of next generation Sony tablet leaked
As the release date for Windows 8 nears more news about the hardware developers plans appear to be leaking out, intentionally or unintentionally. Sony is the latest with a very interesting looking tablet called the VAIO Duo 11.

Sony’s efforts in the tablet space have been met with less than open arms but the image shows a tablet that has a built-in, fold out keyboard in a sharp looking industrial design. The tablet appears to be running Microsoft Office, meaning that it uses an Intel or AMD processor.

NFL Replacement Refs to start season
Well one group made it through the pre-season without getting the chop and that is the NFL’s replacement reps. Not happy with this since I am pretty sure I saw a couple of 17 yard penalties marched off last week.

I suspect that no matter how well they actually do, fans for half of the teams will be blaming the refs on everything from their teams’ loss to costing them in the points category in their Fantasy Football league. I wonder how long this will go on or will the NFL change its mind in less than a week?

Samsung shows five pending Windows 8 phones

Samsung took the floor at the IAF trade show in Berlin and backed the truck up with a wide range of new and future devices including the Galaxy Note II, hybrid PCs and a new high end camera. It also previewed five smartphones that will be using Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system.

The devices, with info on them here from Gizmag, will all carry the brand name ATIV as the company appears ready to use that moniker to cover aa wide range of next generation devices including PCs and phones. The official launch of Windows 8 is in late October and expect to see more details from all of the players adopting Microsoft’s Windows 8 for a variety of products.


Friday Grab Bag: Samsung, Lenovo Tablets-Seattle bickers about stadium

We mentioned last week that there is now an ongoing attempt to build a new basketball arena in Seattle and then land a new team. From this article in the Seattle PI it looks like the Seattle City Council could be a roadblock.

While the county commissioners are expected to give approval to an $80 million contribution to the building, the city looks like it might want a better deal for the $120 million that it is being asked to throw in as well. The city wants better protection from financial fallout among other issues.

Microsoft wants broad patent licensing deal with Motorola
After winning cases at home and abroad regarding its patent portfolio Microsoft has said that it wants to sign a deal with Motorola that will end the legal disputes between the two companies. Microsoft already licenses its ActiveSync technology to others including Samsung and HTC, according to IT World.

However in the case of Motorola, Microsoft is looking for a more all-encompassing deal, one that will include not just a select few patents but rather a great deal of their respective portfolios in order to achieve what Microsoft calls “A solid foundation for patent peace.”

Larger tablets can be heavy

Samsung thinking big with next-gen tablet?
Kudos to the Verge for digging into all of the documents from the ongoing Apple vs. Samsung trial in San Jose, Calif. Among the nuggets it has mined is the revelation that Samsung has a 11.8-inch tablet on the drawing board.

Code named P10 it would have the equivalent of Apple’s retina display with a 2560 x 1600 resolution and among its other features is LTE connectivity.

Google investing in YouTube effort
It looks like Google is going to invest $200 million in marketing its YouTube channels as it continues its transition of that platform from one in which the majority of content is user generated into one where there are a wide range of professionally created content.

It has over 100 channels now and currently is teamed with NBC to show the Summer Olympics. According to a piece in the Wall Street Journal, Google currently has already earned $150 million in ad commitments for this year.

Google to delay its Nexus Q digital streaming device
Google announced its Nexus Q music and video streaming platform to great fanfare a few weeks back at the company’s annual Google I/O conference in San Francisco. Expected to be quickly delivered to the market it looks like it has hit a bump in the road and its delivery is now delayed.

The people that preordered have been told that there is an indefinite delay but has offered them a free product. Multiple sources report that the device was beset by poor reviews and that the company will be seeking to enhance the device.

A Bikini Hockey League?
Sounds like the follow up ads after the Swedish Bikini Team that Old Milwaukee Beer ran years ago but no, someone is actually trying to launch a Bikini Hockey League. Actually it is a reality TV show that is based on a developer’s purported plan to create such a league.

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet leaked
It appears that the ever vigilant Verge has scored again, this time with details on the upcoming Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 that will be using Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system. The devices will feature an attachable keyboard and pen input as well as the usually features that users have come to expect.

Among the listed features for the tablet are that it will be powered by an Intel Clover Trail microprocessor, have 2GB of RAM and a 64GBs of storage with a 10.1 inch WXGA display. It will have a fingerprint reader and they keyboard will have trackpoint navigation.

MLB’s Powers that be endorse Expanded use of Instant Replay

Bud Selig, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball said last Friday that the sport plans to implement the extended use of instant replay. It will now also be used for trapped balls in the outfield, and to determine if balls down the first and third base line are fair or foul.

The league is now assessing the camera angle issues in each park to see what, if any difficulties it will have in placing cameras that have the needed angles. It is not likely that the extended replay will make an appearance prior to the start of next season

Cleveland Browns sell for $1 billion
At least that is what ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeting yesterday. It seems that James Haslam will be buying the Browns from Randy Lerner for that figure, with a $700 million initial payment and then a second one sometime down the road for $300 million more.

The team just underwent a major shakeup in top management a few years ago, notably luring Mike Holmgren into the front office by giving him the position of team president. Usually new management likes its own people in place so he could be back looking over some other execs shoulder in the near future.

Cleveland Browns

I do like the comment on the tweet that questioned why anyone would pay that much for such a poor franchise noting that a Hawaiian island just sold for $600 million, implying that might have been the better deal.